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Housing in Portugal


The resort towns of Cascais and Estoril offer pleasant surroundings and excellent leisure and shopping facilities and are therefore very popular with expatriates, especially those with families. Most of the international schools in the Lisbon area are situated within 15 km of Cascais. Other expatriates prefer to live within easy commuting distance of their workplace. This means living in Lisbon or its suburbs. Lapa and Estrela are the prime residential areas of Lisbon, although new areas are developing, e.g. around Benfica and Alvalade.

The type of housing that is available is quite varied. Both older and modern villas may be found. In the typical Portuguese villa, garage/storage space is situated on the ground floor, with the living space on the first and second floors. A villa will normally have a minimum of two bathrooms and four/five bedrooms. Fireplaces are common but central-heating are being normal in the new properties. Costly electric-wall heaters are the norm. There is also the night/day timers and tariff with the electricity company, so this is also not so costly any longer. A Portuguese villa will have balconies, and either a small garden or patio at ground level. Apartments may be found in older converted properties or new condominiums. Apartments with more than four bedrooms are rare, unless duplexes. Two bathrooms is the norm. Once again, fireplaces are common but central-heating is usually installed in luxury blocks. Lifts are normal in blocks of 2-stories or higher. Fitted cupboards and fitted kitchens are installed in modern apartments. Balcony space is usual. Luxury blocks may have a communal garden and swimming pool. High-quality condominiums are serviced and the most exclusive have 24-hour security guards. Most apartments have garage space. Properties may be available to rent with or without furniture. The rental price does not vary between unfurnished and furnished accommodation.

Renting a Property

The rental market is largely focused on short-term (and more expensive) holiday rentals in the coastal resorts and larger metropolitan areas. Long term apartment or house rentals can be somewhat difficult to find, depending on the season. The type of housing will vary between apartments, villas or condominiums. Rates will depend upon location and quality of the structure, amenities etc.

Cost of housing varies from area to area and the size of the house or apartment you'll pay anything from €650-€3,000 and higher for an apartment houses anywhere from €2,000-€6,000 and higher. Long term rental will be much more difficult then short term.

A fairly typical monthly rate on a long-term 2-bedroom apartment lease in Lisbon would be over €500/month, excluding utilities. The same apartment on a short-term or holiday lease might go for as much as €50/day or €1,500/month, depending on location.

Properties for rent are advertised in local newspapers and magazines (where you can also place a ‘wanted’ ad.), particularly in English-language publications. They can also be found through property publications in many other countries.

Estate agents in Portugal often offer both short and long-term rentals, and developers may also rent properties to potential buyers.

It is important to have a signed lease agreement that spells out every detail of the lease, including termination clauses. A deposit equivalent to one month's rent is usually required, plus one month's rent in advance. A foreigner must have a Portuguese guarantor in order to enter into a lease agreement. The guarantor will guarantee in writing that the lease payments will be made should the renter default.

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